According to Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman, educators fail when they focus too much on lectures and don’t measure the quality of teaching. His solution to this problem is to incorporate active learning methods to improve education slowly.
In one of his case studies, Wieman let students attend lectures and then gave them a pop quiz right at the start of the next class. Student performance was abysmal. A few weeks later, the results deteriorated further. The students only retained a minimal amount of what was taught during the lectures.
The solution to this problem means a radical change to the traditional methods of teaching. If you are planning to up the ante when it comes to teaching this next year, here are some of the essentials that you should consider to move away from lectures and incorporate active learning in your classroom.
Active Learning Methods to Replace Long Lectures
Active learning is a teaching approach that has a student-centric mindset. In this approach, the teacher wants the students to take something that interests them and probe into it.
- One of the most effective active learning methods is to divide a problem into sub-problems and assign it to several small groups within a class. Occasionally, the teacher should bring the main group back together and also guide them in the right direction.
- Another active learning method is the One-Minute Paper or The Muddiest Point Paper in which the students are given the opportunity to write down the most important points from the day’s session or the least-clear point (muddiest). The responses can be later addressed in the next class or through online groups.
- A very popular active learning method is brainstorming. Students are encouraged to generate ideas on a certain topic or a particular category. The ideas they pitch are written on a blackboard and all of the ideas, however improbable they may seem, must be noted.
Active learning is not just about handing over responsibilities to the student. It involves a great deal of effort from the teacher’s side as well. The teacher must not only know the content, but also know how to create interactive experiments and challenging scenarios.
Building a Dynamic Study Environment through Gadgets
Laptops are not the biggest source of distraction in a class. Boredom and irrelevance are. Good teaching can benefit from well-placed tech when it is used to promote active learning. Students tend to stay attentive to topics that grab their attention. Exercising their curiosity has an impact beyond the classroom itself.
- Most existing classrooms have a specific set of hardware that the students and teachers are expected to comply with. This creates a lot of cable clutter, confusion, and difficulty for maintenance. But incorporating a device like Airtame into the classroom removes the necessity for cables when it comes to presentations and seminars and eases the maintenance overhead on IT admins. It also opens up the entire classrooms to learn collaboratively by allowing every student and teacher to mirror the contents from their device to the monitor independently.
- Students nowadays don’t just want to learn about something, but they want to feel the context. This is where some of the most popular gadgets and technologies come into play. Virtual reality headsets can prove to be a boon for teachers as they allow students to virtually experience what is being taught. Whether it is learning about the solar system, different parts of a car, or historical monuments, these headsets can elevate the learning experience to a whole new level.
Hands-on Learning Is Crucial
Knowing concepts, but failing to understand where to use them, renders the knowledge useless. This is a very relevant statement in today’s world. Students are often only taught the high-level outline of concepts. They aren’t always encouraged to move deeper into the subject.
Hands-on learning through robotics, 3D printers, and more are proven to be better for the students in terms of retention capacity, problem-solving capability, and better engagement. What technology or strategies are you planning to implement next semester to bring more active learning into the classroom? There’s no time like the present to start planning for how to transform your teaching next fall.
This is a sponsored blog by Luke Richardson. Luke is the Brand Director at Airtame. He’s motivated by the advancements in ed tech, and he’s an advocate for student-centered learning.